Sport Gaelic Football

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Ó Sé retirement sparks fear of Kingdom exodus

Colm Keys

Published 04/10/2013 | 05:00

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Tomas Ó Sé takes to the field for the All-Ireland SFC final against Dublin in 2011 - Kerry lost that day but the outstanding wing-back retires from the game with five All-Ireland winners' medals to his name

The retirement of Kerry football great Tomas Ó Sé has prompted widespread speculation in the Kingdom that other high-profile players will follow him in the coming months and weeks.

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Eoin Brosnan and Paul Galvin are among those who could consider their futures prior to the start of next season. Galvin hinted at retirement during an interview he conducted at the beginning of the summer, and there has been no shortage of speculation in the wake of Ó Sé's departure that he will follow through with it. Brosnan is more likely to depart.

Ó Sé brought down the curtain on one of the great careers of modern times by confirming his retirement to his former An Ghaeltacht and Kerry colleague Dara ó Cinnéide on Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Ó Sé also revealed that he was finished with club football too and would concentrate on managing the UCC freshers for the next few months. He said he had only made his mind up to retire in the days after the All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin. He predicted a bright future under Eamonn Fitzmaurice and suggested the team had let their manager down in the loss to the Dubs.

"In a way, I feel that we let Eamonn Fitzmaurice and the management down, as they had every base covered, and that upsets me given the work that everybody involved had put in," he said.

He also paid tribute to his late uncle Páidí Ó Sé, who gave him his championship debut, describing him as "the best manager I ever saw in a dressing-room who was loved and revered in equal measure by the players. I was very happy I was there when he was there."

Ó Sé, who holds the record for championship appearances with 88, never missed a championship game through injury. He did miss some through suspension, however.

"It was always small things, that I would have to miss game through a little punch, a quick reaction," he said reflecting on the red cards he picked up during a 16-season championship career.

"But if you asked anyone I marked they would agree that they were small things. There was never malice and that bothers me that I would have to miss a game over it.

"I'm not a dirty player. I didn't have the patience that I had later on in my career but I would do strange things."

He pointed to the 2002 All-Ireland final defeat to Armagh as his biggest regret.

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